Incorporation of The Woodlands Resources
A RESOLUTION IN OPPOSITION TO THE INCORPORATION OF THE WOODLANDS ON NOVEMBER 2, 2021.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce represents over 1,200 businesses in the area and is the largest business association in the Houston region.
WHEREAS, Economic growth, sustainability, and preservation are important to the residents and businesses in The Woodlands.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands was originally founded in 1974 by George P. Mitchell, and 2007 legislation provided the authority to enter into the Regional Participation Agreement.
WHEREAS, The Regional Participation Agreements protect The Woodlands Township from annexation by the City of Conroe and the City of Houston through November 16, 2057.
WHEREAS, Texas passed the Texas Annexation Reform Act in 2017 to protect and make the municipal annexation process more democratic by requiring the consent of the majority of registered voters in a proposed area for annexation and promoting greater communication between cities and residents to emphasize full stakeholder involvement.
WHEREAS, Timing of incorporation should be completely up to our business community and residents to ensure they fully understand the transition plan and impacts.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands Township stated they would not place the vote on the ballot in a non-presidential or gubernatorial year.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands Township presented the financial data to the Township Board on Friday, August 13 before the deadline of August 16 to place Incorporation on the ballot, leaving inadequate amount of time for the board and community to fully understand the impact.
WHEREAS, Local law enforcement experts revealed substantial gaps, shortfalls, errors and omissions in the consultant study funded by The Woodlands Township, the document endorsed as a reliable blueprint for establishing a new police department should voters elect to incorporate. In addition to budgetary omissions, the law enforcement expert’s report reveals a lack of understanding of the operational realities of a modern-day police force.
WHEREAS, Law enforcement experts agree the consultant study funded by The Woodlands Township ignores the risk and costs of assuming accountability and liability associated with operating a police department, including the need to budget for settlement of claims and/or the cost of insurance. The study does not address the increasing costs of pension plans, collective bargaining and negotiating with a new police union, and ignored how financial crimes, special victims, gang activity, computer crime, juvenile crime, some vice offenses and regulatory offenses will be addressed or funded.
WHEREAS, Local elected law enforcement officials, Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson, and Constable Ryan Gable, Montgomery County Constable Precinct 3, have reviewed the expert report and agree significant gaps, errors, and omissions are included in the consultant study funded by The Woodlands Township.
WHEREAS, Per Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson’s public statement on Incorporation, “at a time when crime is rising across America, now is not the time to dismantle your law enforcement.”
WHEREAS, That the addition of every $2M of costs to the operational budget, due to errors, omissions, or understatements in the consultant study funded by The Woodlands Township, result in approximately $.01 in increases to the future tax rate of the city of The Woodlands.
WHEREAS, The existing tax rate of $0.223 per $100 valuation has allowed for significant pre-funding of The Woodlands Township reserve funds intended to be utilized specifically for incorporation. A revised tax rate needs to be presented by The Woodlands Township should Incorporation fail at the ballot box in November.
WHEREAS, A significant amount of The Woodlands Township incorporation reserve funds have been accumulated by pre-taxing residents and businesses within The Woodlands. The Woodlands Township should provide an alternative plan for utilization of these funds should incorporation fail at the ballot box in November.
WHEREAS, The current low tax, pro-business environment attracts hotels, restaurants, and quality businesses.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands as a city will unleash a new tax rate, new city service charges, and a new taxing authority while creating no new services.
WHEREAS, Action of incorporating can never be undone, and will cause massive changes in the function, cost, and efficiency of our current governance model.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the pathway to opportunity and works to improve the area’s economy by advocating for the business community at every level of government.
WHEREAS, The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce acts on policies that can impact our members’ ability to run their business profitably.
WHEREAS, General membership have spoken by response to a survey administered by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce regarding their position on the matter. The survey revealed a majority desire to take a stance against incorporation in the upcoming election.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce general membership support publicly opposing The Woodlands Township Incorporation at this time.
PASSED AND APPROVED this Friday 24th of September 2021.
JJ Hollie, President & CEO Julie Ambler, Chairman of the Board